Is your resume ready for the mid-level search? 

The mid-level job search is hard. And that’s a huge understatement. During the entry level search there many jobs available and it is easy to land multiple interviews – lots of attention for the applicants, especially at placement exchanges. The mid-level search can take a year or more to land a job! There are drastically fewer positions available and the competition is much more fierce. As a result, an entry level pro looking to jump up to the mid-level, needs to showcase how much they are on top of their game and it starts with the resume (and cover letter, but today we are going to focus on the resume).

In the last year I have lead three searches for mid-level positions. Below are a few tips I have noticed that could improve the chances of me calling someone for a first round interview!

Entry level humans, please, utilize the many, many resources out there to help you have a resume that shines. If you don’t want to search for other resources, then please, follow the tips below.

  • No body uses objectives any more – get rid of them!

This includes personal narratives as well. These take up valuable real-estate on your resume and don’t exactly tell the reviewer what you have accomplished, which is most important.

  • Education goes at the top of a resume.

I have seen so many resumes that burry education in the middle or end, stop it! Why? Placing your education anywhere other than the top of your resume makes it hard for the reviewer to know (quickly) if you meet the first level screening criteria. This screening could mean revising hundreds of resumes and simply looking for education and years of experience. Don’t get thrown out because you hide your education.

  • Format your resume!

A resume that is difficult to read is not helpful to the reviewer. Save your resume as a PDF before you upload to a job listing to ensure your formatting remains in tact for the reviewer.

  • Make it easy for the reviewer to find the preferred qualifications in your resume.

If the job asks for crisis management experience, list your related experience near the top. If the job asks for assessment experience, list your assessment experience near the top…and so on.

  • Chronological order is king!
  • If chronological order is king then bulleted lists of accomplishments are queen!

Paragraphs make it hard for a reviewer to efficiently identify your fit for the position. On a related note, do not regurgitate your job description on your resume. Rather, tell the reviewer the scope of your responsibilities(amount of budget, number of direct reports, number of students in area of on-call responsibility and so on)  and the accomplishments you have had during your time in each position.

  • APA formatting.

Presentations and publications are to be listed in APA format.

  • General section headers to be listed on your resume include:
    • Education
    • Professional Experience
    • University Service
    • Professional Development – this section is best if it includes experiences beyond conference attendance, which is quite passive.
    • Awards and Honors
    • Certifications
    • Selected Presentations
    • Publications
  • REVIEW before submitting!

One of the single most important things to do with your resume is to have it reviewed…more than once! It can be scary to put yourself out there like that however the alternative is that you submit a resume with a typo or other errors. I am happy to review your resume! I will make it bleed for you so that you can work toward developing your best resume for this point in your career (

There are many more resources out there. Please use them! Make the reviewer excited to schedule you for an interview after looking at your materials! Look like a badass right out of the gate!

Additional resources:

  1. Dr. Patrick Love offers many great resources on his blog and his book.
  2. HigherEd Jobs provides guidance on resumes and cover letters on their website.
  3. A blog recent blog post from the Student Affairs Collective provides insight: Mid-Level Job Search – When you don’t get the job.